Air fryer vs deep fryer: Which fryer is the best

Fried food is a guilty pleasure for almost everyone. Whenever in doubt about a food, fry em and it will never disappoint. Frying food is a traditional thing in all cultures and has been used as a popular cooking method for centuries. Out of the different frying methods, deep frying and air frying are the most popular. So, naturally deep fat fryer vs airfryer is a popular debate. Whereas foods fried with deep fryers have their own values in terms of taste, air fried foods are generally healthier. So, which one is better? Stay with us for a comprehensive guide on air fryer vs deep fryer.

Comparison of Air Fryer and Deep Fryer

1. Deep Fryer and Air Fryer Mechanisms

You can prepare tasty foods like french fries, fried chicken or even an entire turkey. This fryer uses preheated oil for flash cooking. You have to put your food in the deep fryer basket and then submerge the basket in the preheated oil. Since the food is soaked in hot oil, it gets cooked on all sides equally. Deep frying doesn’t require as much time as other frying methods such as pan frying or air frying. Deep frying has Maillard effect on food. This means that deep frying decomposes the sugar and protein content of the food and gives the surface a golden brown color.

On the other hand, air fryers cook food with air. The air is superheated. There’s a fan in the device that passes air through an element that causes heat. Then, the hot air comes in touch with the food in the basket. The air fryer also cooks the food equally on all sides and thus has the same Maillard effect as a deep fryer. This gives the food a crisp texture on the outside.

2. Oil Requirement

A deep fryer requires more oil than an air fryer. However, if you maintain your deep fryer properly and clean it regularly, the amount of oil consumed can be significantly reduced. Air fryers are just deep fat fryer with low oil usage.

It hardly requires any oil for frying and even if it does, it’s only a spoonful. But a deep fryer needs 1-4 liters of oil. So, using an air fryer cuts down the oil cost for frying. It’s true that the leftover oil from deep frying is reusable but it’s not recommended. Due to its high oil needs, any deep fried food provides more calories than food cooked in an air fryer. Here’s a deep fryer vs air fryer calorie intake comparison table:

Food Deep Fryer Calorie Intake Air Fryer Calorie Intake
Fried Chicken 3038 1830
Fish and Chips 1087 600
French Fries 687 267
Chicken Nuggets 305 180
Onion Rings 411 176
Scampi and Chips 975 424

3. Healthier Cooking

Foods made in an air fryer are a lot healthier than in a deep fryer. For example: if you make French fries in an air fryer, you’ll get 80% less fat than frying potatoes in a deep fryer. So, using an air fryer is great for those who are concerned about getting fat. At this point of the airfryer vs deep fryer debate, air fryer wins.

4. Time Required and Capacity of Cooking

Due to deep fryers’ faster heat transfer in the oil, they can cook a lot faster than the air fryers. You can practically cook any amount of food in a deep fryer. It has small and large cooking baskets for this purpose. But air fryers have limited space for cooking food, so you can only cook food in small amount in this device. You can get a large air fryer with a little more budget.

5. Taste

If we’re talking about air fryer vs deep fryer taste, deep fryer produces tastier foods among the two fryers. This happens because the foods made in a deep fryer are generally crunchier than in an air fryer. Cook time significantly affects the taste of food. For example, time required to make perfect crispy chicken fries in a deep fryer is significantly less than that of air fryer. If the chicken is cooked with enough time in air fryer, similar crisp like deep fryer can be achieved.

You can use batter on the deep fried foods but if you put wet batter on the food and put it in an air fryer, it won’t turn out well. The hot air in the air fryer blows the batter away from the food. You can use extra oil spray for a crispier taste in the air fried foods but even then, the crisp doesn’t match the crunch produced in a deep fryer.

6. Safety

It’s not advisable that everyone uses a deep fryer. Deep fryer has several risks. The hot oil can scald your skin. There are even cases of fire breakout during deep frying. Air fryer, on the other hand, doesn’t involve any of these risks. Since the air fryer has a lid, there’s no chance of getting burnt while using this machine. You can also set the temperature and the timer in an air fryer, so your food is never likely to get burnt.

7. Cost

Air fryer costs a lot compared to the deep fryers. Anyone can get an air fryer for him/herself since it starts at $50 and even the expensive ones cost around $200. But even the simplest air fryer costs $100. But air fryers can not only fry but also roast, bake and grill. So, you’re capable of using the device outside of simply frying foods. Also, the cost of the oil used for frying needs to be taken into account. Whereas deep fryer requires a lot of oil for a single fry, an air fryer hardly requires any oil. With an air fryer, you can cut down the regular oil cost of frying. If you’re thinking about long term usage, getting an air fryer is more economical.

8. Ease of Use

You can only prepare a couple of dishes in a deep fryer since you’re only able to fry foods with it. But with an air fryer, you get to bake, roast and grill besides frying. This, too, puts air fryers over deep fryers.

Deep Fryer Air Fryer
Requires excessive oil Requires little to no oil
Cooks faster Takes longer to cook
Produces foods with high calorie Produces food with very low calorie
Requires high maintenance Doesn’t require high maintenance
Comes at affordable prices Costs a lot more
Cleaning is difficult Cleaning is comparatively easier

9. Benefits and Drawbacks

At this point of our air fryer vs deep fryer discussion, we’ll point out the benefits and drawbacks of both.

a. Deep Fryer Benefits

  • Deep fryers are very affordable
  • You can fry within a very short time using a deep fryer
  • The foods produced in a deep fryer are tastier than in an air fryer
  • The oil gets deep inside the food, so your food will have a richer taste
  • If you cook vegetables on it using extra virgin olive oil, you’ll get higher antioxidants
  • The taste produced by the deep fryer is exquisite and is similar to the taste provided by the restaurants

b. Deep Fryer Drawbacks

  • The oil cost is a little too much
  • People who eat deep fried foods regularly are prone to develop cardiac disorders
  • Deep fried foods cause weight and fat gain
  • You can’t bake, roast or grill like in an air fryer

c. Air Fryer Benefits

  • Air deep fryers are great for maintaining a healthy body
  • Costs less in terms of oil requirement
  • You get to cook different kinds of food or even use the fryer as an oven
  • Air fried foods contain the least calories
  • Very easy to clean and maintain
  • No after-odor is left after frying, unlike the deep fried foods
  • Air fryers are always safe to operate and are incapable of causing any scalding

d. Air Fryer Drawbacks

  • The device is costlier than a deep fryer
  • Takes more time for cooking
  • The taste of the food is not as great as in an air fryer

Considerations Before Buying a Deep Fryer

Before you get yourself a deep fryer, make sure you’ve had these considerations:

  • Since deep fryers are available in different sizes, you need to make sure which size will meet your purpose best
  • If you’re going to use a deep fryer for cooking big meals like a turkey, you should get a propane fryer. But if you’ll only use it for making French fries or small food items as such, a small electric fryer will do
  • If your concern is safety, get an electric deep fryer since it comes with an automatic shutdown option
  • The last and possibly the most important thing to take into consideration is your budget. You can get deep fryers in almost all price ranges

Considerations Before Buying an Air Fryer

Take these points into consideration while you’re getting yourself an air fryer:

  • Air fryers come in 700-1500W. So, you need to make sure which power will suffice your purpose of buying an air fryer
  • Air fryers can cook foods weighing 1.5-2.5lbs. Make sure you get an air fryer that meets your demand in terms of capacity
  • Air fryers come with different cooking settings. These settings play an important role in deciding the taste and texture of the food
  • Since air fryers come in different sizes, choose the one that fits your kitchen best
  • Since air fryer is a multi-purpose device, choose the model that suits your cooking style best

So, Which One is Better?

If you’ve followed us so far, you already know about the difference between deep fryers and air fryers and which one of the two fryers you should go for. But let us point that out for one last time. If you want a fryer for the taste of fried foods, choose a deep fryer. An air fryer can be almost as good but the taste provided by the deep fryer is on a different plane.

If you’re concerned about your health and want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, an air fryer is your choice. The amount of fat and calorie content in the air-dried foods are almost nothing to the deep-fried foods.

If you’re thinking about budget, a deep fryer is your friend. However, if you think about the long term use, you’ll find that getting an air-fryer is more cost-friendly. An air fryer saves on the cost of oil whereas a deep fryer requires a lot of oil.

The air fryer is a great successor to the deep fryer. If you want to get the best out of your fried foods and with the minimum budget, go for a deep fryer. But if you want to do a lot more than just fry foods, go for an air fryer. Your choice mainly depends on your needs. Our air fryer vs deep fryer discussion provides a comprehensive study on both machines, so you can select the best fryer for your home.


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